ONWARD & UPWARD
PRESENTED BY A-B TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE
A.A.S. (Baking & Pastry Arts), A-B Technical Community College
Owner, Farm to Cake Bakery
Debi Hall owned a successful web design business before deciding she no longer wanted to be tethered to a computer screen. Curious about career options, she drove from her home in Waynesville to A-B Tech Community College and read about the school’s award-winning baking program in a kiosk of brochures. She quickly decided, almost there and then, that cakes and pastries would be her future.
To family and friends, the choice seemed out of character. “I had at that point never baked—or cooked, for that matter,” Hall says. “I was the person who had a kitchen because it came with the house.” But at that stage in her life, she needed a dramatic change. “Sometimes, you get into a rut and you have to do something out of your element.”
While studying at A-B Tech, Hall embraced a wide variety of baking skills, developing an appreciation for all of the wonderful sweet things— from plated desserts to wedding cakes—that help us celebrate the moments of our lives. She welcomed practical instruction on business management, which transforms a passion into a livelihood, and discovered that the things that brought her joy could also bring her an income.
“At A-B Tech, I think you can walk onto the school and find something that interests you,” Hall says. “For me, by the end of the second semester, I knew that baking was something I was going to do.”
After graduating in 2009, Hall took a job at City Bakery in downtown Asheville. But friends and family soon started to make personal requests for cakes, and she was more than happy to oblige. When a local wedding venue asked her to bring one of her cakes to showcase to wedding planners, she found a calling and a new career. Wedding vendors and brides sought her out for her beautiful cakes.
In 2012, Hall formally launched her business, making desserts and other confections—but especially wedding cakes. She rebranded her business in 2019 and now operates as Farm to Cake Bakery, a name that reflects her commitment to scratch-made goods.
As 2021 unfolds, she is planning to branch into bread—and particularly hearth breads—but wedding cakes will always have her heart. “The thing about weddings is that you’re working with people on the happiest days of their lives,” Hall says. “It really is wonderful to be a part of that.”
Debi Hall of Farm to Cake Bakery